Salvador Dali Cubist self portrait 1926
It takes 15 SECONDS to understand the Ukrainian genocide
“People are not gods. They must not act like gods or assume godly authority. If they do, terrible retributions are in store.”
• The US Is a Luciferian Project (Garlington)
All of this is the regression of human development, not its advancement. It is consonant with the spirit of Antichrist, as described in the Book of the Holy Prophet Daniel (7:23-25):‘”Thus he said: `As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time.’
St. Jerome provides a commentary: ‘The Antichrist will wage war against the saints and will overcome them; and he shall exalt himself to such a height of arrogance as to attempt changing the very laws of God and the sacred rites as well. He will also lift himself up against all that is called God, subjecting all religion to his own authority.’ The modern American project of god-like, autonomous individuals is Promethean/Luciferian at its core, attempting to ‘change the times and the law’ given by the All-Holy Trinity in ever more disturbing ways – by pursuing genetically modified crops and animals; synthetic biology; transgenderism; transhumanism; etc. Is it any wonder that many tradition-respecting countries are becoming reluctant to ally with Washington City and its friends in the wider apostate West?
Within the US itself there is, nevertheless, resistance; there are dissenting voices and views. The people of New England and their descendants in Utah and in the cities along the Pacific Coast have always been at the forefront of pushing new, subversive ideologies – feminism, communism, polygamy/Mormonism, homosexual rights, man-boy love, polyamory. But outside of Yankeedom we meet with more reasonable, more traditional voices. The South, for instance, the South shorn of Yankee-imposed ideologies, that is true to her history and character and inherited customs – Southerners of this kind insist on the ‘given-ness’ of creation, on its immutability, that man must respect certain boundaries regarding it or risk experiencing great cataclysms and tragedies.
Wendell Berry, a typical Southern agrarian of this sort, writes in his essay ‘The Gift of Good Land,’ ‘It [the land}s a gift because the people who are to possess it did not create it. It is accompanied by careful warnings and demonstrations of the folly of saying that “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Thus, deeply implicated in the very definition of this gift is a specific warning against hubris, which is the great ecological sin, just as it is the great sin of politics. People are not gods. They must not act like gods or assume godly authority. If they do, terrible retributions are in store. In this warning we have the root of the idea of propriety, of proper human purposes and ends. We must not use the world as though we created it ourselves.
“As the US realises that the free nations of the world are turning against it, it will not hesitate to blame the Kiev regime. The US must save face. Kiev has been warned: it will have to start negotiating with Russia again.”
• About Saving Face: Some Advice to Volodymyr Zelensky (Batiushka)
It is now dawning on the US elite that they totally underestimated Russia in all respects. For instance, on 25 March 2014 the arrogant Obama contemptuously called Russia ‘a regional power, threatening others out of weakness’ (sic!). (Clearly, he was talking about the USA). As a result, blinded by hubris, some in the US are now admitting that the Ukraine, the most corrupt country in Europe, is a dead duck, the game is simply no longer worth the candle. Apart from being a black hole for Western money and military equipment, the Ukraine is no longer the problem. It is a sideshow, a distraction, a mere symptom of something far more important. The real problem is what is now happening worldwide under Russian leadership – the ending of the unipolar world, of US global hegemony, camouflaged beneath the more innocent-sounding term ‘globalism’.
Following Russia’s decision and ability to stand up to the world’s bully, the whole Non-Western world is now also standing up to him. For example, at the recent G20 meeting in Indonesia, the debate was not about the Ukraine, but about whether or not to continue to accept American Fascist rule (‘the rules-based international order’). All the Latin American and African and four Asian countries said no, it’s finished, the world is now multipolar. Taiwan will inevitably be Chinese and soon – and wait till Chinese troops appear in Mesopotamia to take control of Iraqi oil and gas and rebuild that tragic country. Freedom beckons. Long-deluded Western elitists must be shocked: other ‘regional powers’ are now also standing up to the bully. Perhaps also out of weakness?
Zelensky must have suspected that his boss, until now the self-imagined master of the universe, is going to get rid of him. He is a loser and the Yanks cannot stand losers. As the US realises that the free nations of the world are turning against it, it will not hesitate to blame the Kiev regime. The US must save face. Kiev has been warned: it will have to start negotiating with Russia again. Zelensky had better plan his escape now, because Ukrainians will not forgive him for stringing them along with a pack of lies. Regardless of Zelensky’s delusional assertions that there will be no negotiations with Russia and that it will re-occupy Russian territories, including the Crimea, there are three reasons for him to throw in the towel now, before it all gets much, much worse.
Not going to happen. Zelensky’s Waterloo.
• Kiev Planning To ‘Retake’ Crimea In 2023 – The Economist (RT)
Ukraine’s armed forces are reportedly preparing for an assault on Crimea, to “retake” the peninsula which voted to reunite with Russia in 2014. A former Ukrainian commander told the Economist that the operation was being planned for 2023, but declined to give more details. Former air assault commander, Mikhail Zabrodsky told the outlet that if the army announced its intentions on social media or television, it would “never achieve anything.” He did admit, however, that an operation designed to retake the peninsula would not be a “senseless frontal assault” and would be done using a combination of land troops, sea landings, and air attacks, including the use of drones. “We will surprise people—and many times—again,” he said.
However, Zabrodsky, who claims to remain close to the military planning process in Kiev, stressed that there are still many battles to win before the army could consider a timeframe for such an attack. Military experts have warned that an effort to forcefully retake Crimea or the territories of the Donbass republics, which recently joined Russia after holding public referendums, could prove costly for Kiev and drive Moscow to escalate, perhaps even to the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “There is a real prospect that things will end in a bloodbath. That is an operation Ukraine does not need,” retired navy captain Andrey Ryzhenko told the Economist. Top US General Mark Milley said earlier this month that the probability of a Ukrainian military victory which included taking Crimea was “not high” and not likely to be happening “anytime soon.”
Nevertheless, Kiev has insisted it is determined to seize the peninsula, with President Vladimir Zelensky saying he has no desire to seek a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict with Moscow without “de-occupying” the territory. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Gavrilov also suggested earlier this month that Ukrainian forces could step into Crimea “by the end of December.” Crimea overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in 2014 following violent riots in Kiev that ousted democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich. This autumn, the two Donbass republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, also voted to become part of Russia in referendums not recognized by Kiev or its Western backers. In late September, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would defend its new territories “with full force and all the means at our disposal.”
I can see how this would freak you out.
• Beijing Protesters Spooked By Phone Calls From Police (AFP)
Beijing protesters have been interrogated by police via phone call after attending rare large-scale protests calling for an end to China’s harsh zero-Covid controls, one told AFP on Monday. Hundreds of mostly young people braved icy temperatures to gather near a riverbank in the capital Sunday evening, as a vigil for victims of a deadly apartment blaze in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region turned into calls to end zero-Covid. People have taken to the streets in major cities and gathered at university campuses across China in a wave of protests not seen since pro-democracy rallies in 1989 were crushed. A woman protester told AFP that by Monday evening she and five of her friends who attended the protest had received phone calls from Beijing police, demanding information about their movements.
In one case, a police officer visited her friend’s home after they refused to answer their phone. “He said my name and asked me whether I went to the Liangma river last night… he asked very specifically how many people were there, what time I went, how I heard about it,” she told AFP, asking to stay anonymous for safety reasons. “The police stressed that last night’s protest was an illegal assembly, and if we had demands then we could submit them through the regular channels. ”She said that the police officer was mostly “even-toned” during the brief call and urged her not to attend future events. “I had previously prepared for this, but of course I was still agitated,” she said, adding she would “try her best to continue” attending similar protests in the future, and “prepare better” next time. “I never thought that this kind of civil society activity could ever happen in China,” she said.
“Western lockdowns were necessary to save lives. Chinese lockdowns are the repressive tactic of an undemocratic regime.”
• NYT: Lockdowns Are Draconian When China Does Them (Eugyp)
Three years ago, Zero Covid was the aspiration of public health bureaucrats and politicians across the West. Charlatan techbros like Tomas Pueyo appeared on national television to demand nationwide house arrest; leaders like Angela Merkel surrounded themselves virus-eradicationist modellers and imposed unprecedented months-long closures upon their countries. When protests inevitably broke out, they were violently suppressed; the protesters were slandered as conspiracy theorists and fascists. The New York Times played a leading role in this long and excruciating charade. In April 2020, they reported that “an informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the [Trump] White House” was responsible for “quietly working to nurture protests and apply … pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
In March 2021, they ran an obnoxious opinion piece about What Happened When Germany’s Far-Right Party Railed Against Lockdowns, which called the German protesters “an amorphous mix of conspiracy theorists, shady organizations and outraged citizens” and appeared to accuse the right-populist party Alternativ für Deutschland of opportunism for joining their ranks. What a difference a few years have made. China Protests Break Out as Covid Cases Surge and Lockdowns Persist is a lead headline in today’s New York Times: “Strict Covid restrictions are hurting the country’s economy and angering members of the public, who are taking to the streets,” we read in the article that follows. Western anti-lockdown protesters are fascists and conspiracy theorists; Chinese anti-lockdown protesters, on the other hand, are ordinary people protesting their oppression:
“Lift the lockdown,” the protesters screamed in a city in China’s far west. On the other side of the country, in Shanghai, demonstrators held up sheets of blank white paper, turning them into an implicit but powerful sign of defiance. One protester, who was later detained by the police, was carrying only flowers. Over the weekend, protests against China’s strict Covid restrictions ricocheted across the country in a rare case of nationwide civil unrest. There had been signs of dissent, but the new wave of anger may pose a bigger challenge for the government. Some demonstrators went so far as to call for the Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, to step down. Many were fed up with Mr. Xi, who in October secured a precedent-defying third term as the party’s general secretary, and his “zero-Covid” policy, which continues to disrupt everyday life, hurt livelihoods and isolate the country.
Western lockdowns were necessary to save lives. Chinese lockdowns are the repressive tactic of an undemocratic regime.
“The diplomat noted that the ongoing Ukraine conflict was not on the officials’ agenda.”
o US Diplomat Reveals Contents Of Spy Chief Talks (RT)
The heads of American and Russian intelligence agencies have discussed the risk of a potential nuclear confrontation between the two countries, Washington’s Charge d’Affaires in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, has told RIA Novosti. The diplomat noted that the ongoing Ukraine conflict was not on the officials’ agenda. In an interview with the Russian media outlet published on Monday, Rood said: “The US and the Russian Federation have [communication] channels for risk management, especially in terms of nuclear risks, and precisely this issue was the goal of CIA Director [William] Burns’ meeting with his Russian counterpart.” She pointed out that the two spy chiefs had not, however, discussed the situation in Ukraine or ways to end hostilities there.
The American diplomat added that Washington and Moscow could hold consultations in a similar fashion down the road, if necessary. “For now, as far as I know, nothing is being planned,” Rood noted. The high-level meeting in Türkiye’s capital, Ankara, was first reported by Russia’s Kommersant newspaper in mid-November. It is believed to have been the first in-person contact between top US and Russian officials since Moscow launched its military campaign in Ukraine in late February. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed that a high-level meeting had taken place in Ankara on November 14, stopping short, however, of revealing any details regarding the participants or the topics discussed there. “It was the American side’s initiative,” he explained.
Recent comments by Rood about Ukraine not being on the agenda of the meeting between Sergei Naryshkin, chief of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, and Burns echoed those made earlier by an unnamed White House official cited by Reuters. That source was also quoted as saying that the two spy chiefs had touched on the issue of American citizens in Russian custody and Russian nationals held in US prisons, and the possibility of a swap deal. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden expressed hope that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, would be willing to discuss such an exchange, which would involve US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is serving nine years in a Russian prison for drug offenses. According to media reports, in exchange, the US could release Viktor Bout, a Russian national and alleged arms dealer, who is serving a 25-year jail term in America.
When they make them they want them to be used.
• Boeing Offers To Make Bombs For Ukraine – Reuters (RT)
The Pentagon is reportedly considering an offer from Boeing to mass-produce cheap precision bombs for Ukraine using existing US stores, as Washington and its allies struggle to keep up with Kiev’s military aid requirements. According to Reuters, Boeing has proposed supplying Ukraine’s forces with the so-called Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) system, which would pair the $40,000 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the relatively abundant M26 rocket motor. The weapon has been in development since 2019. In a document seen by the outlet, the manufacturer claims the availability of the necessary components would enable it to produce the ordnance and start delivering it to Ukraine as early as spring 2023.
However, there are still logistical obstacles to overcome, as at least six suppliers would have to expedite shipment of parts in order to produce the weapons quickly. Boeing’s plan also asks for a price discovery waiver, which would exempt the contractor from an in-depth review to ensure the Pentagon is getting a fair deal. According to SAAB AB’s website, who manufactures the weapon together with Boeing, the GPS-guided GLSDB is capable of striking targets at a range of up to 150 kilometers, which would potentially allow Kiev to strike Russian forces far beyond the front line. While both the US military and Boeing have declined to comment on the report, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman told Reuters that Washington and its allies “identify and consider the most appropriate systems” that would help Kiev.
He refused to elaborate on providing any “specific capability” to Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly warned the US and its NATO allies against supplying weapons to Ukraine, arguing that it only serves to prolong the conflict and could eventually lead to a direct confrontation between Russia and the West. As countries like the US and UK have made more advanced weapon systems available to Kiev’s forces, capable of reaching deep behind the front lines, the Kremlin has described the ongoing conflict as nothing short of a proxy war against NATO. President Vladimir Putin has also stated Russia is fighting “the entire Western military machine.”
“..he now regards the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015 as a mistake..”
Because they stopped Russia’s advance in the Donbass. They were a trick.
• Putin Confession Suggests Ukraine Conflict Could Last For Years (Trenin)
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented, during a meeting with soldiers’ mothers, that he now regards the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015 as a mistake. This concession makes a powerful contribution to the possibilities of peace negotiations to end the fighting in Ukraine. It is worth remembering that in 2014, Putin acted on a mandate from the Russian parliament to use military force “in Ukraine,” not just in Crimea. In fact, Moscow did save the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk from being overrun by Kiev’s army, and defeated Ukraine’s forces, but rather than clearing the whole region of Donbass, Russia stopped, and agreed to a cease-fire brokered in Minsk by Germany and France.
Putin explained to the mothers that at the time, Moscow did not know for sure the sentiments of the Donbass population affected by the conflict, and hoped that Donetsk and Lugansk could somehow be reunited with Ukraine on the conditions laid down in Minsk. Putin might have added – and his own actions, as well as conversations with then-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, confirm it – that he was prepared to give the new Kiev authorities a chance to settle the issue and rebuild a relationship with Moscow. Until rather late in the game, Putin also hoped that he could still work things out with the Germans and the French, and the US leadership. Admissions of mistakes are rare among incumbent leaders, but they are important as indicators of lessons they have learned.
This experience has apparently made Putin decide not that the decision to launch the special military operation last February was wrong, but that eight years before, Moscow should not have put any faith in Kiev, Berlin, and Paris, and instead should have relied on its own military might to liberate the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine. In other words, agreeing to a Minsk-style ceasefire now would be another mistake which would allow Kiev and its backers to better prepare to resume fighting at the time of their choosing. The Russian leader realizes, of course, that many nations in the non-West, those who refused to join the anti-Russian sanctions coalition and profess neutrality on Ukraine, have called for an end to hostilities. From China and India to Indonesia and Mexico, these countries, while generally friendly toward Russia, see their economic prospects being impaired by a conflict that pits Russia against the united West.
The Western media also promote the message that global energy and food security is suffering because of Moscow’s actions. Russia’s arguments and protestations to the contrary have only limited impact, since Russian voices are rarely heard on Middle Eastern, Asian, African, or Latin American airwaves. Be that as it may, Moscow cannot ignore the sentiments of the larger part of humanity, which is now increasingly referred to in Russian expert circles as the Global Majority. Hence, official Russian statements that Moscow is open for dialogue without preconditions. However, any Russian delegation to talks would have to take into account the recent amendments to the country’s Constitution, which name the four former Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye as part of the Russian Federation. As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has put it, Russia will only negotiate on the basis of existing geopolitical realities. It should be noted that the Kremlin has not retracted the objectives of the military operation, which include the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, which means ridding the state and society of ultra-nationalist, anti-Russian elements.
“If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”
• Biden Admin Scrambles To Track $20B In Ukraine Aid As GOP Warn Of Audits (Fox)
President Biden’s administration is scrambling to track the nearly $20 billion in military aid it has sent to Ukraine as Republicans warn of impending audits when they take control of the House in January. Likely future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his party will not be giving Ukraine a “blank check” to fend off Russia’s invasion. A potential audit would determine how much, if any, of the U.S. aid is ending up in the wrong hands. The Biden administration’s previous tracking efforts have inspected only a fraction of the aid provided to the country. The Republican push to ramp up oversight enjoys some bipartisan support in Congress. Some staunch Ukraine allies fear the party will cut off aid to the country entirely, however.
Firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has vowed to “hold our government accountable” for Ukraine spending, and some of her colleagues across the aisle are echoing the message. “The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it’s intended to go,” Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., told the Washington Post. “In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies.” The lawmakers agree that current monitoring efforts appear woefully inadequate, with the Biden administration inspecting just 10% of the 22,000 weapons the U.S. has provided to Ukraine between February and November 1, according to the Post. U.S. allies in Europe have expressed hope that Republican skepticism of Ukraine aid will not lead to a widespread cutting of funding, however.
“You’d be playing into Putin’s hands,” U.K. Parliament member Tobias Ellwood said in October. “If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” McCarthy has based his criticism of the aid packages on America’s economic situation as the economy threatens to fall into a recession. “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy said last month. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
The entire continent is made up of sock puppets.
• EU Gets Tough on China as US Steals European Industry (Gallagher)
European leaders have finally woken up to the fact that Washington is benefitting at their expense with the US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Despite their economies being harmed by Washington, the EU continues to take a much tougher stance against Beijing. NATO leaders are set to meet Nov. 29-30 in Bucharest and will discuss ways to “reduce dependency” on China. At the same time, EU leaders are debating how to deal with their US “ally” coaxing European industry to American shores. Ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington, Paris is signaling that Europe would be more willing to go along with a more hardline China stance if the US backs down on efforts to poach European industry with its subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Yet, there are reasons to believe that’s a dead end, and some Europeans are already waving the white flag. While the EU is suddenly in emergency mode over its industry being wiped out by American rivals – something that’s been obvious to many for months – its focus all year has been on Moscow and Beijing. Here’s a brief roundup of the China focus: The bloc is busy hammering out an Anti-Coercion Instrument, which aims to take countermeasures against outside countries that attempt to pressure bloc states using the member states’ economic dependencies. China, which implemented a de facto trade embargo against Lithuania after it allowed Taiwan to open a liaison office in Vilnius, is widely seen as the primary target of the rule.
European lawmakers are also finalizing new rules to curb acquisitions or bids for public contracts by subsidized foreign companies. Again it is widely believed the rules are aimed primarily at China. It came on the heels of the uproar over Chinese efforts to obtain a controlling stake in a Hamburg port terminal. In the end, Berlin approved a sale of 24.9% of the terminal to Cosco. American companies could also face scrutiny from the new legislation due to the Inflation Reduction Act, which has subsidies for US-based manufacturers of electric cars, batteries and renewable energy products and consumers who buy such American-made products. But it would only apply to American companies if they try to buy EU companies or in public procurement bids and not in the case of EU companies relocating production or building of future factories.
China’s Global Times argues that Europe should blame the US for its decline in competitiveness but doesn’t believe that will be the case: Europe has a kind of concern or fear about the rise of China, which is also consistent with the strategy of containing China pursued by the US, Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of European Studies. [..] He added that this decision by the EU is very unwise, especially when European economic prospects are unclear, as the implementation of trade protectionism and blocking of normal market business behavior will ultimately damage European companies.
Pre-Covid this was seen as following the science. But now things are different. Now it’s just WEF. And people won’t follow that.
• Netherlands To Forcefully Shut Down 3,000 Farms (CS)
To comply with the European Union’s radical climate laws, the Dutch government of World Economic Forum acolyte Mark Rutte will force up to 3,000 farms to shut down for good. Farmers will be made an offer on their farms, which the government claims is “well over” market value. According to nitrogen minister Christianne van der Wal, the government purchase will be compulsory. “There is no better offer coming,” claimed van der Wal. Recent EU nature preservation rules require member states to reduce emissions across sectors of the economy. As one of Europe’s most prominent farming nations, half of the Netherlands’ emissions come from agricultural activity. Rutte has warned that those who refuse to comply could face government force.
When the Dutch government announced a nitrogen fertilizer reduction mandate, the country saw nationwide protests from farmers. Former agricultural minister resigned from his position as a result of the movement. The Dutch farmer protests received international attention, with protests popping up in Canada in support of the uprising. Rutte’s government policies have many observers concerned about the direction he is taking the country. Earlier this month, the country’s finance minister Sigrid Kaag proposed a law to allow banks to spy on transactions of citizens which totaled more than €100. Privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens called the bill an unprecedented “surveillance of the Dutch” people.
“Biden is accusing Twitter of “spewing lies all across the world” by seeking to reduce one of the largest censorship systems in history.”
• New Twitter Sign Ups Hit All-Time Record Despite Cancel Campaign (Turley)
Since Elon Musk bought Twitter with a pledge to restore free speech protections, the media and political establishment have maintained an unrelenting campaign to use pressure from corporations and foreign governments to force him to restore censorship policies. Reporters have covered seemingly every celebrity declaring that they are leaving the site or even selling their Teslas in protest. As companies joined the boycott, commentators gleefully announced the “death,” “collapse,” and “demise” of the social media company with some mocking Musk’s endangerment of billions for free speech. New figures, however, appear to show that the public is solidly with Musk on the free speech issue. New signups at Twitter are at an all-time high with two million new signups per day.
As these companies and activists demand censorship, customers are signing up in mass to embrace the greater diversity of viewpoints and expression at the company. While companies are yielding to demands from the left that they cut off ad revenue until Musk restores censorship, users are flocking to the site. The over two million new sign-ups per day represent a 66% increase over the same time frame last year, according to figures released by Musk. Of course, it has long been known that the public wants more, not less, free speech. It is the political establishment that is struggling to retain control over speech on social media at any cost. Facebook even tried a massive commercial campaign to convince the public to embrace censorship.
President Joe Biden has led calls for censorship on social media, which have been largely heeded by companies like Facebook and Twitter. Biden is accusing Twitter of “spewing lies all across the world” by seeking to reduce one of the largest censorship systems in history. President Biden has previously accused social media companies of “killing people” by refusing to impose robust censorship over a wide range of subjects. Many of those banned or censored were doctors with opposing views on the data and the science related to the pandemic. Some of those doctors were the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which advocated for a more focused Covid response that targeted the most vulnerable population rather than widespread lockdowns and mandates.
“It’s not even that they worry about the content. Twitter is a tainted brand, a brand non grata companies don’t want to be associated with..”
• Twitter Owner Musk Signals New ‘War’ Against Apple (AFP)
Twitter owner Elon Musk on Monday opened fire against Apple over its tight control of what is allowed on the App Store, saying the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform. Musk also joined the chorus crying foul over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store – the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion plus mobile devices. A series of tweets fired off by Musk included a meme of a car with his first name on it veering onto a highway off-ramp labeled “Go to War,” instead of continuing onwards towards “Pay 30%.” The billionaire CEO also tweeted that Apple has “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.” Both Apple and Google require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content.
But since taking over Twitter last month, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation, while an unknown number of others have voluntarily quit. He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former president Donald Trump. Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and safety at Twitter who left after Musk took over, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “failure to adhere to Apple’s and Google’s guidelines would be catastrophic,” and risk “expulsion from their app stores.” Describing himself as a “free speech absolutist,” Musk believes that all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter, and on Monday described his actions as a “revolution against online censorship in America.”
He also tweeted that he planned to publish “Twitter Files on free speech suppression,” but without clarifying what data he had in mind to share with the public. Though Musk says Twitter is seeing record high engagement with him at the helm, his approach has startled the company’s major moneymaker — advertisers. In recent weeks, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter,” an analysis conducted by nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters found. Musk on Monday accused Apple of also having “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter.” “Do they hate free speech in America?” he asked, before replying with a tweet tagging Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In the first three months of 2022, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending some $48 million on ads which accounted for more than 4 percent of the social media platform’s revenue, according to a Washington Post report citing an internal Twitter document. Sarah Roberts, an information studies expert at University of California, Los Angeles, told AFP that “Musk didn’t understand that Twitter itself was a brand, had cachet.” “Now companies don’t even want to be associated with it. It’s not even that they worry about the content. Twitter is a tainted brand, a brand non grata companies don’t want to be associated with,” she added.
The swamp is putrid.
“..he watched a live-feed of Assange’s arrest from the Operations Room at the top of the Foreign Office alongside Pelican personnel. After Assange had been imprisoned in Belmarsh, Duncan had a drinks party at his office for the Pelican team.”
• UK Deployed 15 Staff On Secret Operation To Seize Julian Assange (Dec.uk)
The British government assigned at least 15 people to the secret operation to seize Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, new information shows. The WikiLeaks founder was given political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, but was never allowed safe passage out of Britain to avoid persecution by the US government. The Australian journalist has been in Belmarsh maximum security prison for the past three and a half years and faces a potential 175-year sentence after the UK High Court greenlighted his extradition to the US in December 2021. ‘Pelican’ was the secret Metropolitan Police operation to seize Assange from his asylum, which eventually occurred in April 2019. Asylum is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The operation’s existence was only revealed in the memoirs of former foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan which were published last year.
The UK government routinely blocks, or obfuscates its answers to, information requests about the Assange case. But the Cabinet Office recently told parliament it had seven officials working on Operation Pelican. The department’s role is to “support the Prime Minister and ensure the effective running of government”, but it also has national security and intelligence functions. [..] Other government ministries refused to say if they had staff working on Pelican, including the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The MoJ is in charge of courts in England and Wales, where Assange’s extradition case is currently deciding whether to hear an appeal. It is also in control of its prisons, including Belmarsh maximum security jail where Assange is incarcerated. When asked if any of its staff were assigned to Pelican, the MoJ claimed: “The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.”
Sir Alan Duncan, foreign minister for the Americas from 2016-19, was the key UK official in the diplomatic negotiations between the UK and Ecuador to get Assange out of the embassy. In his memoirs he wrote that he watched a live-feed of Assange’s arrest from the Operations Room at the top of the Foreign Office alongside Pelican personnel. After Assange had been imprisoned in Belmarsh, Duncan had a drinks party at his office for the Pelican team. “I gave them each a signed photo which we took in the Ops Room on the day, with a caption saying ‘Julian Assange’s Special Brexit Team 11th April 2019’”, he wrote. Ecuador’s president from 2007-17, Rafael Correa, recently told Declassified he granted Assange asylum because the Australian journalist “didn’t have any possibility of a fair legal process in the United States.”
Given all of the Guardian’s efforts to paint Assange as a traitor, writing such letters takes gall.
• Media Groups Urge US To Drop Julian Assange Charges (G.)
Twelve years ago, on November 28th 2010, our five international media outlets – the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El País and Der Spiegel – published a series of revelations in cooperation with WikiLeaks that made the headlines around the globe. “Cablegate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US state department, disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale. In the words of the New York Times, the documents told “the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money”. Even now in 2022, journalists and historians continue to publish new revelations, using the unique trove of documents.
For Julian Assange, publisher of WikLeaks, the publication of “Cablegate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On April 12th 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high-security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organised crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum-security prison. This group of editors and publishers, all of whom had worked with Assange, felt the need to publicly criticise his conduct in 2011 when unredacted copies of the cables were released, and some of us are concerned about the allegations in the indictment that he attempted to aid in computer intrusion of a classified database.
But we come together now to express our grave concerns about the continued prosecution of Julian Assange for obtaining and publishing classified materials. The Obama-Biden administration, in office during the WikiLeaks publication in 2010, refrained from indicting Assange, explaining that they would have had to indict journalists from major news outlets too. Their position placed a premium on press freedom, despite its uncomfortable consequences. Under Donald Trump however, the position changed. The DoJ relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during world war one), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster. This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s first amendment and the freedom of the press.
Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker. Twelve years after the publication of “Cablegate”, it is time for the US government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets. Publishing is not a crime.
The editors and publishers of:
The New York Times
Julian Assange speaking in 2011: "We need a Cablegate for the CIA, we need a Cablegate for the SVR [Russian intelligence], we need a #Cablegate of the New York Times, actually, to see all the stories they're censoring…" #Cablegate12 #FreeAssangeNOWpic.twitter.com/MjhU44tVOU
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 28, 2022
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